Garland, along with Oliver Ekman-Larsson was acquired in July’s blockbuster draft-day trade from the Arizona Coyotes.
While fans criticized giving up the first round pick and the acquisition of Ekman-Larsson, there was a lot to like about Garland.
A few days after the trade went down, the Canucks signed the Scituate Massachusetts native to a five-year contract worth 4.96 million dollars per season.
It was a reasonable contract for Garland as he is a legit top-six forward that can provide goals and is in the prime of his career at the age of 25.
Garland’s hockey career has taken him across the United States and Canada. He played for a boarding school in Minnesota called Shattuck-St Mary’s in the 2010-11 season before heading back to Massachusetts to play two seasons for the Boston Junior Bruins of the Empire Junior Hockey League.
He then played the 2012-13 season with the Muskoken Lumberjacks but for only six games. Garland decided to go to Canada and play for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL who drafted him in the sixth round in 2012. He had a great time in Moncton which included QMJHL MVP honours in 2014-15 where he scored 35 goals and 94 assists for 129 points in 67 games. (That was also the most points by any player in the CHL that year.) That led the winger to be drafted in the fifth round (123rd overall) by the Coyotes.
Garland spent 2015-16 with the Wildcats (where he put up 128 points.) and spent the next three seasons with the AHL’s Tuscon Roadrunners before making his NHL debut in the 2018-19 season.
Flash forward to today and Garland has impressed in his first three games with the Canucks.
He was acquired to score goals and he scored his first as a Canuck from a bad angle and was the only Canuck to beat Thomas Greiss on Saturday night.
It’s not just the goals that he is known for. Garland can also throw the body around and can get under an opponent’s skin. In the game in Detroit and the game in Philadelphia, he was always in the post-whistle scrums and ticked some players off.
Travis Konecny ended up calling Garland an “angry little elf.” After being hit by Garland, Filip Zadina also had words for the Canucks forward.
“He just reverse hit me,” said Zadina after the game per Jennifer Hammond of Fox 2 Detroit. ” I guess, I mean, you know, like the midget that he is.”
By the way, Garland is listed as 5’10” by the official NHL website.
The hit was controversial because Zadina ran into Garland while the latter’s back was turned. At first, Garland was given a five-minute major for an illegal check to the head but after the referees reviewed the play, he was assessed a minor penalty instead.
Garland was asked about it after the game.
“I hit the brakes trying to create space,” he said per Patrick Johnston of The Province and Vancouver Sun.
Garland is the type of player that any team would love to have and would hate to play against.
He is a pest on the ice and can help out a ton offensively. Garland also brings agility and loves to spin around opponents like a Beyblade when he has the puck.
Out of all the acquisitions made by General Manager Jim Benning in the offseason, Garland was the one to be most excited about and it’s only been three games but he has lived up to the hype.
He has three points in three games and hopefully, he continues getting under the skin of opponents, score goals, and display great hands, tenacity, and energy throughout the season.